When there is a problem in an area such as the knee or the lower back we want to address all factors that may have either caused or had a part in the problem.
After an injury there are three main steps in the recovery process that need to be addressed. First is to minimize and reduce pain. Of course this is the step that everyone wants and is the most noticeable, but just because the pain is reduced or gone does not mean you are completely “fixed or healed”. The next step is to restore range of motion and mobility. The last step is to regain strength and stability to the region. The reason it is done in this order is because our activities will most obviously be limited by pain. Then if we try to build strength and stability in a joint or area that does not have full mobility then we build improper patterns and create extra tension and compensations.
When it comes to strength and stability we want to look above and below the area of the complaint, not just where it hurts or was injured. Obviously if the knee isn’t stable and strong it is not a recipe for success. The same scenario applies for the hip/low back and the foot/ankle.
Stability is a two way street. If our hips, glutes, and lower back are strong, tight, and stable that creates good stability for the knee. If we neglect the foot and ankle that could be creating and unstable surface which then torques the knee and creates pain. The opposite is true as well. If our foot and ankle are stable but our hips and lower back aren’t able to support itself when we walk or put on load on it then it will buckle and force the knee to drop in which causes even more pain.
Much like a sports team, your body is only as strong as its weakest link.